Mommy guilt and the writer’s life

Don't feel bad, Mommy.

Don't feel bad, Mommy.

There are so many ways to rack up mommy guilt these days. Stay home with them too much and you’re stifling their social skills. Stay away from them too much and you’re endangering the parent-child bond. Do something in between and you’re either wasting your husband’s money or wasting your own time.

I have always, always had a problem with guilt. I like to blame it on 9 years of Catholic schooling (complete with nuns), but in reality I think it’s just part of my makeup. I go so far as to feel guilty for feeling guilty because my guilt might be selfish and I don’t want to be selfish. That doesn’t make much sense and believe me I know it.

As I sit here at Starbucks I am feeling guilty for the following things:

– my mother-in-law watching my child when I have no billable work to do

– not being outside while the sun is out

– not taking this time to clean my apartment which was cleaned yesterday

– wanting to read other blogs instead of writing mine

– feeling like anyone actually cares whether or not I write on my blog

But my real problem here is that in order to be a writer, one must be selfish. You have to be willing to carve out that time and not do other things. You have to be willing to believe that other people will give a flying frig about what you have to say. Ultimately, you have to believe that you and your writing are worth the effort.

When I was in school this was easy. I had to write for my grades. I was paying someone else to teach me to write and to tell me to write. Once I was out of school it was much harder and now that I’m a mom it is very very difficult! It is next  to impossible for me to justify that my writing – which is not currently getting me any sort of compensation – is worthy of my letting someone else play with my kid and maybe turning down a paying editing gig and letting the housework wait until tomorrow.

Maybe somewhere in my early life my wires got crossed. I got this guilt complex and the urge to be a writer (and hopefully some talent at it). Two things that do not mesh well.

But one thing I’m trying not to feel guilty for is realizing that I owe it to myself to follow this through. I only get one life and since the beginning of my memory I have wanted to spend it writing. Doesn’t that deserve a real chance? Then there’s that $120k degree in writing that I’m still paying off. If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is.

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4 responses

  1. You nailed the guilt complex on the head. I have it too not about the same things but similar. Keep up with your blog I enjoy reading it! Take care.

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